Gift Guides

Russell’s Awesome Everyday Emergency Kit

. 8 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Russell’s Awesome Everyday Emergency Kit

Assemble yours with this guide – or I WILL MAKE ONE FOR YOU

Order your Russell’s Awesome Everyday Emergency Kit HERE!

A few months ago, I wrote about “The Greatest Gift I’ve Ever Given.” Since then, I have been dazzled by the response from readers. Over Christmas, I gave Everyday Emergency Kits (EEK or Kit) to even more friends and family. Again, their gratitude and feedback – and their everyday usage of the Kit – have overwhelmed and gratified me.

100% of what you need for an everyday emergency. And 0% of what you don’t need.

Here’s a sample of feedback on the Kit:

“I love the Everyday Emergency Kit because it has saved me on several occasions. From needing a nail clipper before a big work meeting, bandaids after a scratch, hand sanitizer after filling gas, and lotion for chapped winter hands. The Kit has it all!”

“I love my emergency kit! A zippered pouch that easily fits in the glove box and is packed with convenient and useful items. It keeps me organized with my pen, notebook, chapstick, and hand sanitizer all in one place.  The rechargeable headlamp is an added bonus that will be handy for roadside emergencies or just searching for lost items under the seats!”

“For Christmas this year I received one of the most useful presents you might imagine - an automobile emergency kit which includes practical common sense items all compactly packaged to fit in your car’s inside door compartment. Represents an ingenious niche for automobile accessories.”

“The emergency kit is a simple go-to kit with lots of useful items and it keeps the items organized in my glove box so I can easily get to them when needed!”

“The Everyday Emergency Kit is a staple for any vehicle and includes items I would have never thought I needed, but did! I’ve used it so much, I had to refill it this year!!”

“Loving my car emergency Kit! It’s a lifesaver in a little bag! Perfect size and has all the essentials at your fingertips! The bag is very nice quality- very durable. Everyone should have one of these in their cars! Great gift!”

Readers have contacted me continually since the article’s publication about how useful they found the idea and their intention to create such a Kit for themselves. Some readers have also reached out asking me if I would put together a Kit for them.

After another reader contacted me last week with that request, I decided this offers an interesting opportunity to be useful to my friends and readers.

Below you will find the How-To Guide for putting together your own Everyday Emergency Kit. It notes the exact items included in my own Kit and offers a few alternative ideas for each item. So if you wish to build your own, here you go.

However, if you’re simply too busy or don't want the hassle of ordering and assembling all the items, I am now offering to do it for you! You can order your very own “Russell Smith Awesomeness Everyday Emergency Kit” at this link.

Please note: I will not be offering customization or substitutions.

With that, let’s get to the How-To Guide!


Topo Designs Small Accessory Bag (Included in the EEK. Colors vary.)

Sturdy and durable, this Accessory Bag fits perfectly in most vehicle center consoles and glove compartments. It can hold a surprising amount of stuff, making it a terrific choice for the EEK. I’ve kept my Kit in this bag for more than 8 years. With all the daily picking up, putting down, and jostling around, it shows barely a scratch.

Other Bag Ideas (Approximately the same size as the Topo Designs: 8.5"w x 5.5"h)


BioLite Headlamp 200 (Included in the EEK. Colors vary)

OK, I have to rant. I love – LOVE – this headlamp. It’s compact, rechargeable, maintains a solid charge, lights up to a surprising distance, and weighs virtually nothing. I have two – one for my car and one for reading at night. I’ve owned and used dozens of headlamps in my time, and I love none more than this one.

So what does BioLite do this year? You guessed it – discontinued it. They had to screw with perfection. What the heck? They didn’t even bother to ask me!

The replacement headlamp, the BioLite 325, comes with a heftier price tag ($49.95 vs. $39.95 for the 200). I ordered one to try it out. But I wonder if the “improvements” justify the steeper cost? I’ll report back.

I have purchased enough of BioLite 200s to complete this run of 10 or so EEKs. If you build your own Kit, don’t build it without a headlamp – useful for seeing in the dark, but also a handy emergency signaling device.

Other Headlamp Ideas (All rechargeable, which I highly suggest.)

Pen Knife or Multi-Tool

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Knife (Included in the EEK. Colors vary.)

A multi-tool or pen knife makes an essential addition to the Kit. Basic, light, and handy. You will rarely need more.

Other Pen Knife or Multi-Tool Ideas

Pocket Notebook

Field Notes Brand (One included in EEK. Colors and page styles vary.)

Compact, with lots of pages to write on. Get those sweet lyrics out of your head and down for posterity; write a love letter; take down the address of a cute house to send to your real estate agent; whatever you need to remember, this notebook has you covered.

Other Pocket Notebook Ideas


Pokka Pen (Included in the EEK. Colors and styles vary.)

A pen comes in handy often. These pens measure about 2” closed. With that compact size, plus ink that stays usable even after months of disuse, this pen makes for a worthy addition to the Kit. I actually keep a few in my car and one in my briefcase and each of my rucksacks.

Other Pen Ideas

Lip Balm (One stick included in the EEK.)

Dermatone Original Medicated Lip Balm SPF 30

On our first date, my now-wife bemused, “You really use your lip balm a lot.” Indeed I do. I always carry a lip balm with me; like the Pokka Pen, I also keep a lip balm in my briefcase and every travel bag I have. If you find yourself in a true car emergency, it’ll likely involve the heat or the cold. Either way, you’ll feel reassured you have this lil baby with you to keep those lips protected from the sun and wind. This lip balm from Dermatone performs well in all weather. Pretty much every fishing guide I know uses it too – high praise! I have used many kinds of lip balm on my moisture-deficient lips. I use the Dermatone Lip Balm every day, in all weather, period. Higher praise!

Other Lip Balm Ideas

Hand Lotion

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Moisturizing Hand Cream (One, 2 oz. tube included in EEK.)

An artist friend clued me into this hand cream about a decade ago. She nailed it – you cannot find a better cream to keep your hands soft and supple in these dry, frigid, windy winter months…or the coming dry, hot, stormy summer months.

Other Hand Cream Ideas

Stamps (One sheet of 20 first-class stamps included in EEK. Designs vary.)


Yeah, it’s an e-world but stamps still come in handy more often than you expect. A sheet of 20 should keep you a year or two; you’ll always feel glad you have a stamp nearby.


Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Travel Pack (One pack of 8 bandages included in EEK.)

Fix boo-boos on the fly with a bandage from this little packet. With two kids under the age of 10, it seems like I pull this pack out weekly.

Other Bandage Ideas

Travel Tissues

Kleenex 3-Ply Pocket Packs Facial Tissues (One pack of 10 tissues included in Kit. Pack styles vary.)

When Cousin Eddie’s dog Snots drops a boogie, help the fella out with a tissue. Again, with two kids under the age of 10, we go through a pack of these a week.

Other Travel Tissue Ideas

Hand Sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel (One, 1-oz bottle included in Kit.)

Covid. And kids and dogs wiping their noses continually.

Other Hand Sanitizer Options

If you are building your own Kit, I suggest you include the items below as well. They are not included in the Everyday Emergency Kits assembled by me as I don’t want to ship cash.

Two $10 bills (NOT Included in EEK.)

I dip into my emergency stash quite a bit. Why two $10 bills rather than one $20? Because if you get rescued, you may have two saviors to tip, not only one. They’re not going to want to make change.

A roll of quarters (NOT Included in EEK.)

Even in today’s world with few, if any, street parking meters requiring quarters, I still find myself dipping into the ole roll regularly. Get a gumball, hand the drive-thru some change rather than an extra bill, and make a wish 25 times more potent than dropping a penny in the well….you’ll use these quarters.


There you have it. The Everyday-Emergency Kit, waiting to be assembled by you or put together by me and shipped directly to you. I dip into my Everyday Emergency Kit every week. My relatives and friends get similar usage from their Kits. You will too.

Again, if you wish to avoid the trouble and hassle of doing it yourself, I would love to put one together for you! You can order YOUR KIT HERE!


Logo created by Heather Clevenger.